Family engagement and community partnerships (18)

Community partnerships refers to how schools develop and sustain meaningful interactive relationships with their varied communities (that is, parent, education, civic, and business groups), so that all members understand and contribute to the work of supporting children.

Benchmark Descriptors

Transforming: Practices reflect the ability of schools and families and communities to have meaningful relationships with and impact on each other.

  • School builds and sustains a learning community of stakeholders (parents and guardians, students, district staff, nonparent community members) who can articulate (that is, define, discuss, revisit, and support) and use habits of mind and heart. The school is accountable to families and other members of the broader school community. The school exhibits results publicly.
  • The school has formed strong partnerships with a variety of community resources from faith-based organizations, small and large businesses, NGOs and nonprofit organizations, and so on to provide a wide variety of resources and experiences that tap into students’ interests. The school also partners with community agencies (such as clinics, social work organizations, organic farms, after-school programs, and others) to coordinate delivery of social services to youth. Employer partners develop rich learning experiences for all students and staff and reap tangible rewards from their relationships with students and the school.
  • Individuals and organizations throughout the community act as design partners who collaborate on the development of the school vision, curriculum, and programs (such as parent, student, and teacher conferences). Students, parents, families, and community members are involved in substantive decision making both in the classroom and schoolwide. Students, parents, families, and community members have opportunities to develop leadership skills to further contribute to the school community. Families are active partners in curriculum design, student learning plans, school improvement, and school decisions. Partners actively work to bring school vision into fruition and receive regular updates on key issues. Family representation in governing bodies is demographically representative of the student body. The authenticity of parent, family, and community member participation is monitored and addressed.
  • A Partnership Board supports and develops partnerships centered on teaching and learning and ensures that partnerships are collaborative, including the sharing of resources and information and the alteration of activities to enhance the capacity of other partners for mutual benefit.
  • Explicit connections are made between student backgrounds, community needs, and curricular topics. Parents and family and community members work with the school to identify and make regular use of existing resources (human and material) in the community. Students have a sense of legacy from community members that they are inheriting the world and are expected to make their contribution to it. Student work and projects have a positive impact on their community.
  • Parents are offered opportunities to attain their own B.A. or A.A. degrees, hereby encouraging their children to be excited about doing the same.
  • Structures that support this work include the School Site Council, Partnership Board, community meetings, home visits, service learning projects, internships, and a family and community liaison.

Developing: Practice is reflected in teacher planning and instruction.

  • The school as allocated human resources for supporting a move toward Community Based Social Services.
  • Parents and family and community members have access to timely and accurate information about school functions, decisions, and educational opportunities.
  • Partnerships are cooperative or involve coordination, in that organizations share resources and information and alter activities for mutual benefit.
  • The school provides a room dedicated to parents on the premises so that they can meet, work, and access resources about parenting, child care, tutoring, college, and other things that affect their children.
  • The school is open after school hours for community use.
  • The school has made use of community resources such as businesses, libraries, parks, and museums to enhance the learning environment.
  • The school asks involved parents to make contact with parents who are less involved to solicit their ideas and report back.
  • The school provides ongoing and specific information to parents on how to assist students with skills they need to improve.
  • The school reduces barriers to parent participation by providing transportation, child care, and flexible schedules, and addresses the needs of English-language learners.
  • The school provides written communication in the language of the families.

Early: Learning about and planning for the practice has become important to the teaching staff.

  • The school provides information about local community organizations.
  • Partnerships are for networking, in which organizations share information.
  • The school provides information to families on how to monitor and discuss schoolwork at home.
  • The school schedules events at different times during the day and evening so that all families can attend some throughout the year.
  • [endif]The school produces a regular school newsletter with up-to-date information about the school, special events, organizations, meetings, and parenting tips.

Related Tools

Related Principles